Travels with a Gourmet

a food lover's travels, memorable meals, culinary trials and gastronomic experiences

Dinner yesterday evening was at a Japanese restaurant – Bincho Yakitori which opened last year at the OXO Tower then recently opened another branch in London’s Soho. No sushi or sashimi here but a large menu featuring all things grilled on skewers with chicken (tori) the specialty. They also have a large selection of sake (Japanese rice wine) and cocktails.

The selections are priced per skewer but the minimum order is 2 skewers per kind (so why didn’t they just charge double and say that there are 2 skewers per order?). Other than that ordering hiccup, the place was pretty good – modern interiors, friendly staff and okay food. The meat on the sticks could be a bit more cooked on the grill to have that smoky-sweet flavor but otherwise the choices were mostly delicious and priced very reasonably.

We went a bit overboard as usual but managed to finish all that we ordered – from the yakitori section, we had the traditional negima (corn-fed chicken and spring onion), kawa (chicken skin), tebasaki (chicken wings) and succulent sori (chicken oysters or what the French call le sot l’y laisse which is a choice morcel of chicken found just underneath the thigh and wing – if you have seen the French film Amélie, it’s the part that one character picks out of the roast chicken when he carves it). From the Kushiyaki part of the menu (non-chicken skewers), we had the buta (pork belly), sake (salmon), gyu (beef rib-eye) and the delicious nasu (aubergine with sesame and miso) for a total of 20 mini skewers (you’ll see in the photos how small they were). Along with this, we also ordered some miso soup, fried rice and stir-fried tofu. The only letdown was the rice which wasn’t Japanese fried rice at all but fried rice mixed with kimchi (could they have a Korean chef in the back?). We skipped dessert and walked down to nearby Frith street to the traditional Bar Italia for, in my opinion, the best cappuccino and espresso in all of London accompanied by a slice of yummy Tiramisu.

__________________

Bincho Yakitori
Open daily for lunch and dinner
16 Old Compton St., Soho London
Telephone: +44 0207 207 9111
*** Food – Traditional grilled skewers mostly good but stick to the yakitori (chicken) for the best choices.
*** Atmosphere – Modern dining area with drum and bass music frequented by a hip, young crowd enjoying cocktails and sake with their meal
*** Service – Friendly and efficient, food comes quickly so better to order less and add on later.

Other branch at:
2nd floor, OXO Tower Wharf
Barge House St., London
Telephone: +44 0207 803 0858

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